Sinhala Language Improvement Programme Held

E1M1-19-06-2014

A twelve days Sinhala Language Improvement programme has been commenced on 19th June 2014 at MDTD Auditorium. To improve the language skills for government staff Management Development Training Department (MDTD) conduct this programme with the collaboration of National Institute of Language Education and Training (NILET).

The Programme has been ceremonially inaugurated by the Chief Guest of Mrs. J.J.Muraleetharan, Deputy Chief Secretary – Personal & Training, EPC, Mr.Prasath R.Hearth, Director General, NILET and Mr.G.Gopnath, Assistant Director, NILET.

http://www.ep.gov.lk/DetailsEventnew.asp?lan=0&eid=396

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Trilingual Center organizes Sinhala & English Classes in Kilinochchi – 22 July 2014

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“A timely move to encourage and achieve meaningful reconciliation among society members in Northern Province. Sinhala and Tamil are official languages of this country. English is considered as the link language. In brief , I would say languages play a major role in establishing peace in the country. Communication gap between the communities can be reduced by learning other’s language.”

Northern Province Trilingual Center is scheduled to conduct Sinhala and English classes in Kilinochchi in coming August.
A meeting in this regard was held at Governor’s Secretariat in Jaffna on 22nd July under the chairmanship of Governor of the Northern Province GA Chandrasiri. The Principal of the Trilingual Center and resource persons took part at this discussion.

Secretary to the Governor L.Ilaangovan was also present at this meeting.

http://www.np.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3033:trilingual-center-organizes-sinhala-english-classes-in-kilinochchi-22-july-2014&catid=8:min-gs&Itemid=114

Reconciliation through Poetry

Can poetry reconcile people of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds to each other? Can poetry heal the wounds left behind by conflict and wipe away the tears? Can poetry build bridges and bond people together?

Professor K. Satchithanadan of Delhi University, one time secretary of the prestigious Sahitya Academy of India, had no direct answers but made it clear that poetry gave voice to the voiceless, power to challenge injustice and oppression and pricked the conscience of humanity. This message of humanity was conveyed by him and a team of Sri Lankan poets, So Pathmanathan from Jaffna, Ariyawansa Ranaweera from Colombo, and myself from Kandy. Led by him, we visited three higher institutions of learning- namely the University of Peradeniya, the Eastern University and the University of Sabaragamuwa, Belihuloya.

The three poets represented the three languages used in Sri Lanka- Sinhala, Tamil and English. Significantly, they were bilingual and bonded with each other culturally and aesthetically. Above all they shared the enthusiasm to reach out to each other and facilitate others to reach out to them and to each other. The three contexts in which this sensitizing and humanizing activity took place were well selected in terms of background, audience and response. They also formed a cross section of the Sri Lankan population Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim. At the University of Peradeniya something akin to this session had been done by Professor Rajiva Wijesinha when his book ‘Mirrored Images’ was made familiar to the academic community and the alumni there. But this session had vertical proportions in that the participant audience comprised senior academics, academics and students. The audience was participatory and as was to be expected critical. Professor Satchithanandan took them on intellectually as well as poetically. He raised awareness through his very erudite lecture, taking the audience through the ages from Ramayana to Faustus, from Neruda to modern poets who write poetry of violence. He charmed with his recital of his own poetry. He showed without doubt the power of poetry.

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“Mirrored Images” – a move towards unity (and sanity)

I had the good fortune to participate at the launch of Mirrored Images, an anthology of Sri Lankan Poetry edited by Rajiva Wijesinha.  The book was published by the prestigious National Book Trust of India.

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha had already collected An Anthology of Sri Lankan Short Stories for NBT, beside, of course, his modest collection of Modern Sri Lankan Poetry in English.  But this is a more ambitious work which has drawn from Sinhala. Tamil and English representative works.   The volume which runs to 400 pages contains 138 poems written in Sinhala and Tamil translated into English and 72 poems originally written in English.

These poems were written over the last five decades during which the island nation – after independence – went through radical political, Social and economic changes.  It also witnessed the deterioration of the relationship between the Sinhalese and the Tamils which culminated in a bloody civil war.  War means death, destruction and displacement. It also leaves, in its wake, thousands of widows and the disabled who become the responsibility of the country.  That was – and is – the context in which these Sri Lankan poets worked.  So, understandably, a substantial number of the poems in this collection are disturbing and sad.

Appropriately, Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National languages and Reconciliation graced the function.  Present in the audience were senior writers, critics and media persons.

“Genuine poetry”,   said T.S.Eliot “can communicate even before it is understood” This was affirmed as I first read out the Tamil originals of my poems.  At the launch, the audience, mainly non – Tamil, sat in husband silence because, I believe, the reading was infused with so much passion.  Their understanding was complete with the English version that followed.

Anne Ranasinghe, the veteran, (she is 80!) had to be helped to her seat but her reading was clear and well – articulated.  A.Santhan read his Bigger Match with a brief introduction about a correspondence that occasioned the poem. Continue reading

Sinhala & Tamil for administration in 12 new DS areas


12 new Divisional Secretariat areas in 9 districts have been declared by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as areas where both the Sinhala & Tamil languages should be used as the languages of administration.

The areas are Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Ganga Ihale Kirale and theKandy 4 Gravets and Gangawata Kirale, Matale, Lankapura and Welikanda in Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Mawanella, Kekirawa, Vavuniya South and Dehiattakandiya.

The president has made the order under the constitutional provisions that enable him to declare that both languages be used for administrative purposes in any area taking into consideration the linguistic make up of these areas.

Official Language Commissioner J.D.C.Jayasinghe said the government is expediting its tri-lingual policy throughout the country and this step would assist in the process.

Source: Sunday Times 14th Oct 2012

Answer to Language Issues


The Ministry of National Language & Social Integration is to launch a new hotline from November 1st to resolve language issues.

The hotline no: is 1956, which was also the year the ‘Sinhala Only Act’ was introduced.

The general public was full of praise of the government for this new service rendered.

Junior School presents Sinhala and Tamil folk dances at opening by UNICEF Head of English Activity Centre on World Children’s Day

On World Children’s Day the Country Director of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, Mr Reza Husseini, opened an English Activity Center at the Karandana Junior School in the Eheliyagoda Educational Division.

The Center, which also includes two classrooms for Grade V students, and looks out over the local hills, was built with decentralized funds allocated by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha.

Mr Husseini unveiled the plaque which was in English and Sinhala and Tamil, and students introduced the programme in all three languages. The school also presented Sinhala and Tamil Folk Dance items with great skill and enthusiasm.

Children performing dance items with great enthusiasm

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